By Jeff Brown
The Youngstown State University women’s golf team is coming off a record-breaking performance in Texas where the ladies set a school record for the lowest team round and lowest 36-hole in the Delta Gamma Challenge. Despite breaking the records, the team as a whole only finished in 11 out of 14 teams.
Senior Aislynn Merling led the way for the Penguins, shooting a 140 on the weekend and tying for first place with two other golfers. Merling shot a 69 on the second day of tournament, which was her first collegiate round under par.
“Honestly I didn’t even know what I was shooting while I was playing,” Merling said. “I’ve been waiting for it to click. I’ve been trying to be patient with it, but I feel like its been a long time coming, but it couldn’t have come at a better time heading into the spring.”
Head coach Nate Miklos said that Merling is definitely one of the top golfers in the Horizon League Conference.
“She had an outstanding performance. She definitely has the game to go out there and compete against some incredible competition, and it was great to see her really put it together,” Miklos said.
The Penguins were able to bounce back from a disappointing performance the weekend before in the Lady Bulldog Individual Championship where none of the Penguins were able to break 80 on either day of the two-day tournament. Emily Dixon was the Penguins top golfer finishing 30th with a two round score of 167 (82, 85).
“The golf course was set up extremely difficult, plus it was the first time outside for the spring,” Miklos said. “We took some things we learned from Georgia — had a chance to work on some things since then and just went out and played a really solid event for us.”
The Penguins will look to improve over their final four tournaments of the season in hopes of reaching their goal of a Horizon League Championship.
“Really for us it’s all about working towards being the team we’re capable of being. For us we really spend a lot of time focusing on the process and we kind of let the results take care of themselves,” Miklos said. “Obviously our goal at the end of the year is to be holding that trophy at the conference tournament and advance on to the NCAA regionals.”
While the entire team is focused on reaching the goal of a conference championship, Merling has a few additional goals of her own.
“My goals would be to lower my scoring average,” she said. “I want to become the conference MVP going into the tournament and I would love to win the conference tournament both individually and as a team.”
Merling is also hoping to set a standard of excellence on the women’s golf team for years to come.
“I want to leave here knowing that myself and Allison [Mitzel], our other senior, left it in a good place and the other girls are motivated to go back out and win,” Merling said.